Fear of tears

For weeks now, I have felt that just below the surface, an irrational emotional reaction is waiting to escape. I don’t know what the trigger might end up being, but I sense some waterworks in my future. It’s weird – driving to work, pausing at my computer, walking to an interview, I will just feel this sense that if, given the opportunity, I could sit and cry for a very long time.

I don’t know why this is. Mom is fine. I am no longer feeling jealous about Mr. R. In fact, he seems to like me now. I went to see Mom on Monday, and we had an uneventful visit. Very pleasant. Mom was in a good mood. I found her sitting with Mr. R on a couch in the lobby. I chatted with them there for awhile, and then we moved to a couch in the program area. Mom said to me, “You have a husband.” I said yes, it’s Patrick. I asked how she is sleeping, how she feels. If anything hurts or bothers her. Nothing. She was barefoot. I put socks and shoes on her, but after I did that, when she stood up to hug me goodbye, she said her foot hurt. She had a blister on one toe so I took off the shoes and socks and put them back in her room. I noticed an unfortunate urine odor in her room. I couldn’t see any obvious source at first, but then, standing by her closet door, I caught a glimpse of the floor reflecting sunlight from the window, and there appeared to be a few dried puddles in the center of the room. As for Mr. R liking me: when I left, he kissed my cheek.

There have been some persistent thoughts in my head, though. For one, three friends of Mom’s have died recently. They were friends of mine, too, but I knew them all because they were Mom’s contemporaries. One is actually closer to my age than Mom’s, and she hasn’t been around for years and years. She was a party pal of Mom’s, married at one time to Mom’s former boyfriend. I got an e-mail out of the blue with a brief explanation that she died of bacterial meningitis, missed by a doctor in a New York emergency room. She died alone, at her home. Such a sad thing. The other two were an older couple who both had chronic illnesses. They died just about six weeks apart. They were kind souls, regulars at annual gatherings hosted by one of Mom’s very good friends. I’m relieved that Mom is spared the pain of these losses. A small blessing that Alzheimer’s provides. But the news of their deaths has sparked lots of memories, some very pleasant and some not so good from Mom’s wilder days. And all this thinking just makes me miss Mom, too.

I have also had a recurring vision of how Mom spent many a summer afternoon in the 1970s, when I was young. She would sit in our back yard on a lounge chair, wearing her Speedo swimsuit with the vertical green and yellow stripes, perhaps with a scarf in her hair. Reading a book, or a magazine. I have spent some time in my own yard this year, on a lawn chair, in shorts and a tank top, reading and getting a little sun, just like she did. I am fairer than Mom, though, and, you know, tanning is on the outs, so I don’t bake for hours like she did. But I see that vision with some frequency. I’ll say to myself, “Oh, Mommy.” At that time, she was my mommy, and I was a little girl. I recall lying with Mom on towels in the yard, or at the pool, staring at clouds until they disappeared. It is a weird phenomenon, something she introduced me to, and a goofy way to pass the time.

So it could be as simple as that – I am flooded with memories, and therefore miss Mom more than usual, and feel like I could use a good cry. But it makes me uneasy. It is an uncomfortable thing to anticipate. Maybe the feeling will go away. That would be just fine with me.


7 comments so far

  1. Julia Harris on

    It’s really not a bad thing to cry once in a while. It’s part of the natural grieving process, isn’t it? Missing her now and as she was, missing what she wasn’t and should have been and now can’t be… well, it’s a lot. I’ve been told many a time to just “sit” with the pain, don’t try to flee it or distract it or ignore it, but just experience it. Give yourself room for whatever happens, or doesn’t happen. Is that too New Age-y for a pastor’s wife to say? 🙂

  2. Jenny on

    Right on, Julia. Beautifully said.

  3. Jennifer Jayhawk on

    I agree with Julia. Very well said.

    Whenever I go back home to care for my Mom we seem to be on the funeral circuit. When I talk to my Mom on the phone anymore it is just bizarre stories that don’t make sense or complaining. It is hitting me that we will never have a Mother/Daughter conversation again.

    Nothing wrong with a good sob in my book.

  4. Sherri on

    This summer, I am flooded with memories of my Dad too, and tears are always just right there … I feel them constantly – like you do. In fact, your little memoir here about your Mom prompted some. I’m sorry for your recent losses. It is hard to hear that news, isn’t it? Part of your childhood now really gone….. I’m glad your Mom is doing well. I hope you feel a little better. I think summer triggers a lot of memories, in general. Try to do something fun OR have that good cry. Might help…

  5. Pam on

    I like that image of staring at clouds until they disappear. Kind of a metaphor for loss, which always hurts.

    I agree with Julia. Sit and think. Let it out. Let it be.

  6. momsbrain on

    Thanks, all. I don’t mind crying. I used to be quite good at crying in my younger years, able to process emotions with ease. I guess what bothers me is that it feels like the emotion is there, but it’s stuck or something. I’d prefer to be done with it, one way or the other. I have been irritable, too. I guess I’m just impatient for some resolution.

  7. Jeff on

    I remember staring at clouds until they disappeared at Olympic pool one day. Years later i entertained my friends at Oberlin while painting sets outside with the same distraction. a goofy way to spend time is right, but also relaxing and now it seems obviously a family acquired trait. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: